I often get questions about how to handle and store different kinds of digital assets like images, videos, a product datasheet and information when it comes to online and print. These discussions usually boil down to ‘when to use a PIM and when do I need a DAM and what is really the difference between them.’ Here’s the answer I usually give.
DAM and PIM - what’s the difference?
Let’s start by sorting out the abbreviations. PIM stands for Product Information Management, and DAM stands for Digital Assets Management.
What can you do with a PIM?
Product Information Management (PIM) is the process, method and technology of gaining control over a company’s product marketing information. The objective of PIM solutions is to remove inefficiency in the marketing supply chain by delivering information to sales channels more quickly and with fewer mistakes. There is a close relationship between Product Information Management and Digital Asset Management (DAM), but there are some crucial differences also. In a PIM system, the taxonomy, metadata and user interface will be heavily oriented around the products model/part number. A common factor of most PIM systems is their ability to integrate with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
The image below shows a typical ecosystem of PIM where you get article data from the ERP, which is enriched in the PIM system. The objects in the PIM system can, therefore, be used in different channels. If the articles need to be changed, this is done in one place and giving effect to all channels.
What can you do with a DAM?
Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a collective term applied to the process of storing, cataloguing, searching and delivering digital assets. These may take the form of video, audio, images, print marketing collateral, documents, fonts or 3D models. Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems centralise assets and establish a systematic approach to ingesting assets so they can be located more easily and used appropriately.
So if I should give an answer to the question in the heading, I would like to answer—‘it depends on the purpose’
When to use PIM or DAM?
If we take an example of a company that has a lot of images, audio and movie files that many people are using, both internal and external e.g. agencies; and they are used for events, online channels and brochures - there is probably a good case for starting with a DAM system.
If the same company in the future wants to start to sell their products online and invest in an e-commerce platform, then you probably also want to enrich detailed information about your articles that are not suitable to have in the ERP system. In that situation, it’s a good investment in acquiring a PIM system. The PIM system also makes it possible for you to have a smarter solution on your e-commerce site when it comes to sorting, filtering, relating products and categories, and so on.